WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Two-thirds of U.S. teachers say some children regularly come to school too hungry to learn -- some having had no dinner the night before, a survey indicates.
The survey, conducted by Lake Research Partners for Share Our Strength, a non-profit group that wants to end childhood hunger in America by 2015, indicates more than 60 percent of the teachers say the problem has increased in the past year.
"I've had lots of students come to school -- not just one or two -- who put their heads down and cry because they haven't eaten since lunch yesterday," Stacey Frakes, an elementary teacher at Greenville Elementary School in Madison County, Fla., says in a statement.
More than 40 percent of teachers say hunger is a serious problem and of this group, 61 percent of teachers buy food for their students out of their own pockets, spending an average of $25 a month.
"No child should be hungry at school. We have national programs in place, like school breakfast, that are there to serve children in need," Bill Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, says in a statement. "We need to let more families know their children are eligible for these meal programs and help them overcome the barriers that prevent full enrollment."
The survey of 638 Kindergarten to grade 8th public school teachers was conducted Sept. 20 to Oct. 3. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.